AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 1 March 2022, motorcycle taxi drivers announced that a strike and accompanying demonstrations will continue for a second consecutive day in the northern city of Cartagena to protest new restrictions that ban motorcycles from the city’s main roads. In response, the Colombian government has deployed military and police forces around the city to enhance security and prevent transportation disruptions. Protesters blocked multiple intersections the previous day with their vehicles and burning tires. At least 26 vehicles as well as two bus stations were vandalized. There were no reports of other protest-related violence aside from minor scuffles between protesters and police officers.
Russia / Switzerland (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 28 February 2022, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) closed the country’s airspace to civilian aircraft that operate out of or are registered in Switzerland until further notice. The move is in retaliation for the Swiss government’s decision to adopt all EU sanctions on Russian businesses and notables following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, freezing their Swiss assets. Switzerland also banned Russia-owned, operated or registered aircraft from its airspace as of 28 February, except for humanitarian, medical or diplomatic flights. To date, Russia has banned flights from 36 countries, primarily in Europe, in retaliation for similar measures.
Turkey (Security threat level – 3): On 28 February 2022, Turkish authorities banned warships from passing through the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits, preventing access to the Black Sea from the Mediterranean. Authorities invoked the 1936 Montreux Convention, which allows the country to limit the transit of naval vessels in the straits during wartime. The move follows the Ukrainian government’s request to invoke the international pact in order to prevent Russia’s warships from entering the Black Sea from the Mediterranean.
Analyst Comment: While the Montreux Convention allows Turkey to limit the passage of ships, the convention provides exemptions for ships returning to their registered bases. Therefore, Russian warships may still be able to return to Russian ports in the Black Sea.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 5): On 1 March 2022, a Russian military convoy that comprises hundreds of armored vehicles, tanks and artillery is gradually advancing toward the capital Kyiv from the northwestern outskirts. Reports indicate that the convoy stretches for nearly 65 km (40 mi) from the village of Prybirsk to Hostomel’s Antonov Airport (UKKM/GML). The massive convoy heading toward Kyiv has raised fears of an imminent renewed assault by Russian forces to seize the city after failing to make any significant progress in recent days. Additionally, the Russian Ministry of Defense has threatened to conduct airstrikes on government facilities in Kyiv, including a site belonging to the Security Service of Ukraine; Ukraine’s defense minister stated that Russia is seeking to disrupt telecommunications services.
Meanwhile, Russian missile and rocket strikes continue in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. Earlier in the morning on 1 March, Russian missiles struck Kharkiv’s Freedom Square and several residential districts. Images and video footage show that a missile hit the city’s administrative building. At least 10 people were reportedly killed and 20 others were wounded in the blast. Shelling of power stations has left most areas of the city without electricity. The mayor of Kharkiv stated that Russian forces have surrounded the city but it remains under Ukrainian control. Intense fighting for control of Kharkiv has been underway since Russian troops briefly entered the city on 27 February before being repelled by Ukrainian forces.
In related developments, Belarusian military personnel reportedly entered the Chernihiv region, located north of Kyiv, during the late morning hours of 1 March. The Ukrainian parliament issued a statement confirming the presence of the Belarusian military in Chernihiv. Local reports indicate that at least 33 Belarusian military units have entered the region, although Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denies that the country’s military is taking part in the invasion of Ukraine.